PDA

View Full Version : Favorite Ukulele You've Played



Joyful Uke
10-07-2018, 11:04 AM
Whether you've owned it or not, what is your favorite ukulele that you've played? What size was it?

I'm a concert player, and my favorite has been Kinnard. But, there a lot that I've never tried, so what are some of your favorites?

etudes
10-07-2018, 11:34 AM
I'll be interested to hear the replies. Especially as it relates to tone and balance. What was it about the Kinnard that made it your favorite?

RafterGirl
10-07-2018, 11:52 AM
There are so many that I've never tried, but of the ones I have, I always come back to my KoAloha. There's just something about it that I love. Concert is my preferred size.

DownUpDave
10-07-2018, 01:06 PM
I have been through many, buying trying keeping or selling. The ones I have now are all keepers, I prefer tenors and baritones. My favorite is my LfdM tenor with spruce top and Amazon rosewood back and sides. It is the instrument I judge all others by. The tone is like a classical guitar and ease of playing is the best I have ever touched. A close second is my I'iwi tenor redwood top/walnut back and sides. The tone on this one is it's strong suit, full, warm and really resonant.

They are very different from one another but are both my favorites

112577112574112576112573

El Viejo
10-07-2018, 01:47 PM
In terms of the favorite I own, currently, I'd have to say my Blackbird Clara. It probably gets more play time overall than any other instrument, since it's my travel uke when I have to fly for work. It's also my "save me from making a purchase" uke at festivals, because it is inevitably louder and clearer than most other instruments out there. It's a real treat to be able to play and I really appreciate the opportunity. My "close second" right now would have to be my Koaloha tenor, which is just so unbelievably powerful, clear, and resonant.

In terms of the uke I'd like to own, it's this one from Tyde Music, which I played at a festival very recently. https://www.instagram.com/p/Be1G-eqhBL-/?hl=en&taken-by=tydemusic

I believe their asking price is $6000-$7000, and for good reason. The inlays are exquisite. The sinker redwood top is beautiful, the curly koa is some of the best I have ever seen. The wonderful bevel work all the way around the top and back is really impressive. The sound was beautiful and very resonant. You know a build is special when the sides really resonate... not just the top and back. If I had that kind of cash free at the moment (in California, adoptions and houses aren't cheap), I would've bought it on the spot. They are two extremely talented and extremely creative builders.

I loved it so much that I've decided that my next instrument will have to be a Tyde custom... maybe not of the $6000-$7000 variety, but with their creative thinking and design nonetheless. The idea will be to give them $2000-$3000 for a tenor and ask them to just create something cool using local California woods and whatever design elements they like. I'll probably sell a couple instruments to help finance it so I can get it going in the next year or so.

SoloRule
10-07-2018, 03:43 PM
Lfdm for tenor
Clara for concert
I am done buying. Very happy with all my ukes , lfdm remains my number one ! Unbeatable!

112578

Joyful Uke
10-07-2018, 04:29 PM
I'll be interested to hear the replies. Especially as it relates to tone and balance. What was it about the Kinnard that made it your favorite?

Beautifully made, incredible tone and sustain, and ease of playing.

Of course, one person's preferred tone isn't going to appeal to everyone, and a neck that is great to play for me might not work well for someone else. That's part of what will be interesting about responses, since we haven't all tried the same ukuleles and don't have the same tastes.

etudes
10-07-2018, 04:33 PM
I have been through many, buying trying keeping or selling. The ones I have now are all keepers, I prefer tenors and baritones. My favorite is my LfdM tenor with spruce top and Amazon rosewood back and sides. It is the instrument I judge all others by. The tone is like a classical guitar and ease of playing is the best I have ever touched. A close second is my I'iwi tenor redwood top/walnut back and sides. The tone on this one is it's strong suit, full, warm and really resonant.

They are very different from one another but are both my favorites

112577112574112576112573



Lfdm for tenor
Clara for concert
I am done buying. Very happy with all my ukes , lfdm remains my number one ! Unbeatable!

112578

Your Lfdm's look amazing Dave and Brenda. Brenda I heard your recording online of the Mercedes tune- beautifully played and the special voice of the Lfdm really comes through. I hope to get a chance to play one in person. I guess I need to get to a uke festival in the coming year.

Joyful Uke
10-07-2018, 04:34 PM
I loved it so much that I've decided that my next instrument will have to be a Tyde custom... maybe not of the $6000-$7000 variety, but with their creative thinking and design nonetheless. The idea will be to give them $2000-$3000 for a tenor and ask them to just create something cool using local California woods and whatever design elements they like. I'll probably sell a couple instruments to help finance it so I can get it going in the next year or so.

I hadn't heard of them. I'm off to Google to check them out.
Hope that you get to have one in the near future.

etudes
10-07-2018, 04:47 PM
Beautifully made, incredible tone and sustain, and ease of playing.

Of course, one person's preferred tone isn't going to appeal to everyone, and a neck that is great to play for me might not work well for someone else. That's part of what will be interesting about responses, since we haven't all tried the same ukuleles and don't have the same tastes.

So true, it's such a subjective thing and we all approach the instrument a differently, but it's great you found one that really works for you. The Kinnards look amazing-- next time I'm in San Diego for work..

Joyful Uke
10-07-2018, 04:48 PM
Nice write up and some videos here, for those who want to be tempted by a LFDM.
http://www.theukulelereview.com/2014/10/02/the-2014-lfdm-custom-tenors/

Is tenor the only size?

El Viejo
10-07-2018, 04:55 PM
I hadn't heard of them. I'm off to Google to check them out.
Hope that you get to have one in the near future.

Thanks!

I personally really enjoy owning instruments made in my "home" areas (Hawai'i or California). That's admittedly part of what makes Tyde instruments so appealing to me. The quality is extremely good though, from what I saw. At the LA Uke festival, Devin (one of the two builders) showed me some of the incredible instruments they have built using reclaimed woods. Lots of really creative work- they've used wood reclaimed from docks, roof shingles, walls, you name it. The instruments they create with all of these materials sound really, really good- up there with the absolute best in the ukulele field.

Their designs are all wood (no plastic, no shell, no "bling" in the traditional sense). Here is a pretty incredible build in progress, I really want one like this: https://www.instagram.com/p/BQGVwslFN4I/?hl=en&taken-by=tydemusic

mds725
10-07-2018, 06:12 PM
My favorite uke of the ones I own is an all-Koa Moore Bettah tenor. I've played a couple of other Moore Bettahs that I like more than my own (due to their being constructed from different tonewoods).


I'm a concert player, and my favorite has been Kinnard.

John Kinnard built me a tenor guitar with a spruce top and Padauk back and sides, one of two custom tenor guitars I own. (The other is a Beau Hannam with Australian Blackwood back and sides. They sound and play differently and I love them both.) Kinnards are wonderful instruments.

Kenn2018
10-07-2018, 06:49 PM
So far, my recently acquired Kinnard Series 2 tenor is my favorite to play. It's Indian rosewood back & sides with Sitka spruce top. The neck and radius fretboard fit my hand perfectly. The sustain goes on forever, so much so the harmonics set up with a down-strum with the following up-strum is wonderful. But the thing that I like the most is the clarity of the notes. Pure and sweet. I can honestly say, that a 4442 E chord sounds beautiful on this Kinnard!

Rosewood/spruce is my favorite combination of woods for pure quality of sound. With koa a close second.

My Mike Periera solid myrtle and MyaMoe soild koa tenors are tied for second place.

Rakelele
10-07-2018, 08:25 PM
Overall, this would have to be my "Ziggy" baritone by Jay Lichty, so much more resonant than any other ukulele or guitar I have ever played. The video shows Neal Chin playing my exact instrument:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaJAMHLyXbg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaJAMHLyXbg

SoloRule
10-08-2018, 01:19 AM
Yes Luis only build tenor size.
I don’t think you will ever see a lfdm in a uke festival ;)

Jerryc41
10-08-2018, 01:32 AM
KoAloha. I have different sizes and styles, but I love playing any of them. My second choice would be a banjo uke - great sound.

DownUpDave
10-08-2018, 01:39 AM
Overall, this would have to be my "Ziggy" baritone by Jay Lichty, so much more resonant than any other ukulele or guitar I have ever played. The video shows Neal Chin playing my exact instrument:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaJAMHLyXbg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaJAMHLyXbg

Wow Rainer, now I know why you like your Lichtys so much

Nickie
10-08-2018, 02:57 AM
Having never sat and spent much time with a fancy uke, I prefer my Cocobolo uke over any others. I love the tone, and it's just plain fun to play.
I do plan to spend some time with a couple of LoPrinzi ukes at TBUG next month. I lust after one, as several of my well heeled friends own them (one gal has 4).

PereBourik
10-08-2018, 03:17 AM
In order:
Beau Hannam Tenor - Redwood top, Koa back & sides, Camino de Santiago inlay. The Beau Hannam is way my #1. Tone, sustain, playability, and beauty are all exceptional.

Blackbird Clara - loud, balanced, and every string can be heard clearly.
Pono ATD - Great sound and amazing value
KoAloha Imaikalani 6 string (who doesn’t love a 6 string)
Martin T2K - I paid for the name.

ukuleleabe
10-08-2018, 03:24 AM
It's tough to say for sure, but right now I'm absolutely loving my Pono baritone.

It's got a rosewood body and cedar top. I might be loving it because of the that or the lower tone vs a tenor.

But anyway right now that's my favorite right now.

A close second would be the DaSilva James Hill tenor. I've played a few. They're a joy to play.

bratsche
10-08-2018, 04:12 AM
I own a baritone and three tenors. Two Ponos, a Kala and a Romero Creations Tiny Tenor. I can honestly say that my favorite is "whichever one I happen to be playing".

Am I fickle? Yes and no. They are all very different, in sound, feel and looks. Picking one up after playing another may take a few minutes to get myself merged into the groove of its distinct personality and set of features. But there's truly nothing I don't like about any of them. A while back, I commented somewhere on these threads that I found the one that has a radiused fretboard most challenging to play, but that's no longer the case. I've never played a custom ukulele. But I'm a happy camper. ;)

bratsche

stevejfc
10-08-2018, 04:38 AM
Moore Bettah. I first played one at the Music Emporium in Lexington, Ma about 15 years ago. (at the time, Chuck sold through them). I finally got one of my own around 4 years ago. Easily the best sounding and most comfortable playing uke (Also the best looking!).
Second I would place my David Gomes spruce and cocobolo tenor, which I recently restored.
Third the Talsma quilted mahogany Martin style 3 concert which is a great player...………...and which, I stupidly sold!

edhaponik
10-08-2018, 05:24 AM
I guess my Kamaka HF-3 is the most satisfying to play of any I've tried. Although I played a Koaloha Tenor at HMS which was also wonderful. But different ukes make me happy in different ways. I've had some really good sessions on the porch plunking away at my S1 and taken my OXK to some weird awesome places. But in a vacuum, I've got to give it to my HF-3. That's my desert island uke (at least, y'know, this week).

kohanmike
10-08-2018, 05:26 AM
After going through 16 tenor ukes in the first year I played a little over five years ago, I tried and bought a Kala KAATP-CTG-CE cedar top, acacia cutaway tenor electric that Mim recommended. I actually traded three of mine for it. I was very impressed by its projection and presence, it's my go to gig uke. After that I culled my collection down to four and in the last couple of years I've added 4 more, mostly Bruce Wei customs and a ready made, all that I really like, but the Godin Multiuke is right up there next to the Kala. Come to think of it, the Lanikai Thinline Bocote cutaway electric I recently bought is also very impressive.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 7 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos

Gmontema
10-08-2018, 05:50 AM
For me, I am split between a koAloha koa concert and my Iriguchi (birdseye maple). Both have rich tones and a comfortable feel. I went with the Iriguchi because it was pretty and unique. But based tonality, I would have been happy with either.

Croaky Keith
10-08-2018, 08:19 AM
Favorite Ukulele You've Played
Whether you've owned it or not, what is your favorite ukulele that you've played? What size was it?

I guess it has to be my most expensive, a KoAloha solid acacia long neck concert with Living Water Low G concert strings - that's when my UAS stopped, when I got that one. :)

Second to that one is my Ohana solid mahogany long neck concert with Living Water Low G concert strings, when I found/bought this one I knew that I had finally found my uke size. :cool:

hendulele
10-08-2018, 08:33 AM
Anuenue concert I borrowed at a jam one week. Everything about it -- feel, sustain, tone -- perfect.

Joyful Uke
10-08-2018, 11:00 AM
Anuenue concert I borrowed at a jam one week. Everything about it -- feel, sustain, tone -- perfect.

Was that the Moon Bird?

Pete F
10-08-2018, 11:49 AM
Collings for the sheer all round experience

actadh
10-08-2018, 03:34 PM
My soprano sapele KoAloha Opio with Living Water strings. Sustain, clear tones, and a pleasure to play.

etudes
10-08-2018, 06:36 PM
My aNueNue Moonbird Concert. So new I haven't had time to do a NUD. It has a dulcimer like tone playing high on the neck. It has an unleashed quality, a big open tone that needs to be tamed a bit at times.. if that makes any sense. Playability and intonation are about as good as I've experienced.

SA Condor
10-09-2018, 07:22 AM
I’ve only ever handled 6 Ukuleles. The very first was a Mahalo, and I knew I didn’t want one of them. But it helped me have perspective on the size of the instrument. Then I purchased a Kala pineapple Soprano and a Ohana Soprano for my daughters. I got a XS Soprano, a Kala Baritone, and a Fred Shields Super Concert . . . hands down the Fred Shields wins! Maybe someday I’ll get to play some of these other fine instruments, but until then, the FS reigns supreme!

kerneltime
10-09-2018, 08:41 AM
My Les Stansell Baritones are something special.. but they ar every different than my tenors. I have sold the ones I do not like so hard to pick a favorite. It is like asking to pick your favorite child

hendulele
10-09-2018, 09:36 AM
Was that the Moon Bird?

Yes! It was hard to give back ...

I've also picked up two different Collings at jams. They're mighty sweet as well. And going to be hard to come by, sadly.

leighbarker
10-09-2018, 10:41 AM
After 10 years playing it, my favorite is my G-String Baritone. I tune it DGBD (tarot patch) and mostly fingerpick. Bought it here in Hilo while taking a slack key uke class at the local cultural center. As I recall I had to decide between that one and a Martin Baritone at a similar price. Iíve never regretted the decision. Thats it in my sig below.

Martinlover
10-09-2018, 02:15 PM
It's tough to say for sure, but right now I'm absolutely loving my Pono baritone.

It's got a rosewood body and cedar top. I might be loving it because of the that or the lower tone vs a tenor.

But anyway right now that's my favorite right now.

I love my Pono Baritone, too! Itís a spruce top.

112618

MopMan
10-09-2018, 02:31 PM
I am torn between favorites new and old... so I'm gonna bend the rules and give you two. ;)

Currently I am enamored with my new 2018 18" scale ebony/redwood Ono tenor. It sings real pretty with a wide, resonant voice and glorious, ringing overtones. It has been designated as my new go-to for fingerstyle.

However, there is another favorite of mine that I know a whole lot better: the 2011 16.5" scale Ecuadorian caoba/cedar Jesus Ortega tenor I purchased here on the marketplace ~1 year ago. It has a crisp and complex cedartop sound. The action on this uke is the best I have ever played. The strings are set frighteningly low and the frets seem tiny compared to those on my other fretted instruments. Somehow that translates to a remarkably excellent playing experience with almost no pressure required to fret--barres, stretches, and complicated shapes are just comparatively effortless on this uke.

Right now they are both strung up low g with Oasis warm strings (I couldn't resist doing a head-to-head comparison) but I think I'll be switching the Ortega back up to high G with some slightly brighter strings.

I would not hesitate to recommend instruments from either of these craftsmen.

Bumgardner
10-19-2018, 03:45 PM
I have a Kinnard Series 2 Tenor that I purchased 5 years ago. I completely stopped looking for a better uke after purchasing it. It plays amazingly well. It has the best feel of any instrument that I own. The build quality is exceptional. The buying process was great as well.

Jerryc41
10-20-2018, 10:47 AM
Easy. KoAloha - any model.

Swamp Yankee
10-21-2018, 04:20 AM
Kiwaya KTC-1 .... it is sublime

Joyful Uke
10-21-2018, 07:06 AM
I love the variety of responses.
Good for fueling UAS. LOL.

bearbike137
10-21-2018, 08:38 AM
Fortunately, I own the favorite ukulele I have ever played. Here is a clip of Kalei playing it:

https://vimeo.com/216805517

I must admit though, Len's MB, which I got to play briefly when I visited HMS a few months ago, is a close second... :)

etudes
10-21-2018, 09:26 AM
Fortunately, I own the favorite ukulele I have ever played. Here is a clip of Kalei playing it:

https://vimeo.com/216805517

I must admit though, Len's MB, which I got to play briefly when I visited HMS a few months ago, is a close second... :)

Wow! Gorgeous and the tone is enchanting.

Martinlover
10-21-2018, 10:56 AM
Fortunately, I own the favorite ukulele I have ever played. Here is a clip of Kalei playing it:

https://vimeo.com/216805517

I must admit though, Len's MB, which I got to play briefly when I visited HMS a few months ago, is a close second... :)

Omg I have heard one of these in person and got to strum it. It was amazing.

Joyful Uke
10-21-2018, 11:20 AM
Fortunately, I own the favorite ukulele I have ever played. Here is a clip of Kalei playing it:

https://vimeo.com/216805517

I must admit though, Len's MB, which I got to play briefly when I visited HMS a few months ago, is a close second... :)

Wow. Everything about that is beautiful, both for the eyes and the ears.

Kenn2018
10-21-2018, 03:22 PM
Fortunately, I own the favorite ukulele I have ever played. Here is a clip of Kalei playing it:

https://vimeo.com/216805517

I must admit though, Len's MB, which I got to play briefly when I visited HMS a few months ago, is a close second... :)

You are a fortunate person. That is a very cool and wonderful sounding ukulele. Someday I will acquire a Ko'olau tenor.

People won't let me near their Moore Bettah ukes 'cause my drool might cause water damage to the finish. :drool:

bearbike137
10-21-2018, 06:05 PM
Thank you for the very kind comments about my ukulele. I feel very blessed to own it.

Rosendust
10-22-2018, 11:49 AM
For right now, I'd say my Makala Dolphin, but I am sure as my playing improves-my tastes are bound to change ;)

Romulus
10-23-2018, 07:45 AM
I played a Kanilea K3 Premier koa tenor and thought that I had died and went to heaven. I now own one and still marvel at the beauty of the sounds of every note and chord. When it comes to pleasure, playing my Kanilea is definitely my second favorite thing to do.